The Genome of the Mimosoid Legume Prosopis cineraria, a Desert Tree

Naganeeswaran Sudalaimuthuasari, Rashid Ali, Martin Kottackal, Mohammed Rafi, Mariam Al Nuaimi, Biduth Kundu, Raja Saeed Al-Maskari, Xuewen Wang, Ajay Kumar Mishra, Jithin Balan, Srinivasa R. Chaluvadi, Fatima Al Ansari, Jeffrey L. Bennetzen, Michael D. Purugganan, Khaled M. Hazzouri, Khaled M.A. Amiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mimosoid legumes are a clade of ~40 genera in the Caesalpinioideae subfamily of the Fabaceae that grow in tropical and subtropical regions. Unlike the better studied Papilionoideae, there are few genomic resources within this legume group. The tree Prosopis cineraria is native to the Near East and Indian subcontinent, where it thrives in very hot desert environments. To develop a tool to better understand desert plant adaptation mechanisms, we sequenced the P. cineraria genome to near-chromosomal assembly, with a total sequence length of ~691 Mb. We predicted 77,579 gene models (76,554 CDS, 361 rRNAs and 664 tRNAs) from the assembled genome, among them 55,325 (~72%) protein-coding genes that were functionally annotated. This genome was found to consist of over 58% repeat sequences, primarily long terminal repeats (LTR-)-retrotransposons. We find an expansion of terpenoid metabolism genes in P. cineraria and its relative Prosopis alba, but not in other legumes. We also observed an amplification of NBS-LRR disease-resistance genes correlated with LTR-associated retrotransposition, and identified 410 retrogenes with an active burst of chimeric retrogene creation that approximately occurred at the same time of divergence of P. cineraria from a common lineage with P. alba~23 Mya. These retrogenes include many biotic defense responses and abiotic stress stimulus responses, as well as the early Nodulin 93 gene. Nodulin 93 gene amplification is consistent with an adaptive response of the species to the low nitrogen in arid desert soil. Consistent with these results, our differentially expressed genes show a tissue specific expression of isoprenoid pathways in shoots, but not in roots, as well as important genes involved in abiotic salt stress in both tissues. Overall, the genome sequence of P. cineraria enriches our understanding of the genomic mechanisms of its disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance. Thus, it is a very important step in crop and legume improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8503
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • NBS-LRR gene amplification
  • abiotic stress response genes
  • mesquites
  • retrogenes
  • terpenoid synthesis genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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